About the McLean Learning Commons
McLean School Mission
For over 60 years, the award-winning McLean School has been making education accessible, stimulating and meaningful for a broad range of learners. The hallmarks of a McLean education include small, nurturing classes and the faculty members’ signature diagnostic-prescriptive approach to teaching students with learning differences.
Diagnostic-Prescriptive Approach to Teaching
McLean’s diagnostic-prescriptive approach requires that teachers and specialists initially review all available testing reports and student records to assist them in designing individualized instruction, based on a knowledge of best practices in a wide range of areas. Teachers and specialists then utilize their own careful, ongoing classroom observations to fine-tune each student’s academic program; choosing from and adapting known resources, and creating new approaches to allow each student to reach their learning goals.
This process is ongoing: Faculty continually observe a student’s response to the instructional materials and practices selected, flexibly modifying their approach as needed. In addition to this individualized approach to instruction, McLean Specialists collaborate with classroom teachers to build effective instructional strategies and supports into the daily fabric and routine of the regular classroom.
general and special education; social and emotional wellness and academic achievement; cognitive science and academic technology; teacher-nurtured and student-centered learning; traditional and 21st-century literacies; brick-and-mortar and digital learning environments; independent and collaborative student work; and community-building and service.
McLean Learning Commons On Campus
On campus, the brick-and-mortar McLean Learning Commons supports this diagnostic-approach to teaching by providing access to a wide range of resources and research, as well as by facilitating cross-divisional conversations and professional development. Based in the physical heart of the building, in the Learning Commons Library, it acts not only as a resource center to help teachers and students find additional resources and research support, but also as a community space for teacher meetings, community workshops, guest speakers, LS and MS Library classes, LS read-alouds and small group meetings – among many other community functions.
McLean Learning Commons Online
The McLean Learning Commons also evolved into a digital platform online, as a way of further expanding access to these kinds of resources for McLean teachers. Resources are searchable by Learning Goal, Grade Level or Learning Challenge (or any combination of those categories) – to help faculty respond to students’ ever-changing needs with greater agility. They are also available to other educators interested in exploring more ways to personalize learning.
The McLean community of experts, as well as other educators, are invited to recommend resources with the powerful potential to help students reach learning goals in all areas of life – including not only traditional academic success, but also Wellness, character growth, 21st-C. skills and other strategies that support individual learning differences. Advances in cognitive science and academic technology are also shared to provide more possibilities for those who learn differently – which neuroscience now confirms means everyone.*
The Learning Commons Library space also hosts a variety of events open to the larger community, including McLean School’s Community Education Series. Past presentations have included national experts like Bill Stixrud, speaking on “A Sense of Control: Why It’s So Crucial for Them and Their Parents,” Mindfulness sessions offered by McLean’s Director of Student and Community Wellness Frankie Engelking and collaborative presentations and panel discussions on “Empowering Your Child to Successfully and Safely Navigate the Digital World,” among many others. For additional information, read more about McLean School’s Community Education Series here. McLean School also hosts the annual Cecily’s Advocacy Workshop.
*Please note that the mention of any specific resource or program on the McLean Learning Commons does not constitute an endorsement of it by the McLean School. Read the full disclaimer here.